Teachers get ready for a new year
by Iris Hunter Richmond County Daily Journal
From veteran educators to brand new ones, teachers look forward to welcoming their new students as the school year begins.
Halena Jackson, a fifth grade teacher at Fairview Heights Elementary School, is excited about teaching a new group of children.
Jackson has been teaching at Fairview Heights for 21 years, but she has been teaching for a total of 23 years.
A visit to her classroom on Wednesday showed she had already completed a lot of tasks in preparation for the new school year, which begins Monday, Aug. 26. She had dusted, washed, arranged furniture, put out books, disposed of garbage and made sure that all of the technology equipment, such as computers and the SMART Board, were working properly.
Jackson also had prepared for open house, when parents can pick up packets of information that include emergency contact forms, a sheet of school fees, lunch forms and more.
As far as lesson plans, she has already thought about what they will entail, but she has not yet written them down on paper. Jackson firmly believes in using 21st century technology in the classroom because it helps to keep the students engaged in projects as they learn.
One way for teachers to figure out ways that students can learn is by collaborating with other teachers. Jackson stated that it is beneficial to collaborate with other teachers in order to find the best way to implement lessons, while following Pacing Guides and Common Core Standards.
Jackson also believes it’s beneficial for students to collaborate with one another.
“We want to see students collaborate with other students and encourage kids to use their higher order thinking skills in order to solve problems,” she said.
Being a veteran teacher, Jackson knows that some students often need motivation to do something different.
“I like to motivate students in order to get them to think about their thinking and their creativity,” she said.
This year Jackson is ready to teach a new group of students and see each of them grow to their full potential, both academically and socially.
Austin Good, a brand new teacher at Rohanen Middle School who recently graduated from college, is excited to start his new role as an educator.
Good is from Pennsylvania and knew that he had very few options when looking for a teaching position with basically no experience. He was told by others that he would probably end up in the south to accept a teaching position since there are a surplus of teachers in Pennsylvania.
In order to have his classroom ready for the new students he had already started organizing his classroom, getting familiar with the classroom equipment, brainstorming lesson plans, etc.
Good has not had his own classroom before, but he has engaged in student teaching.
“It was a great experience … It was challenging,” he said, noting the average class size was about 30 students. “There were more challenging issues than some of the smaller classrooms.”
Despite the challenges of a large class, Good said he knew he’d made the right decision in choosing education as his career path.
Good feels that the training he went through has been very beneficial and has prepared him for his first classroom.
One of the fears that Good has is that he will overlook some part of teaching and his students will not be able to get the full effect of the classroom learning experience. However, he knows that being a new teacher, he will have to go through a learning process himself.
He stated that everyone who he has come in contact with has been very supportive, especially since a lot of them are fairly new themselves.
Good appears ready to take on this new challenge.
“I am looking forward to a full teaching experience,” he said. “Student teaching is just a portion of that, and I didn’t really get the full teaching experience.”
— Staff Writer Iris Hunter can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.
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